Jo Vito Ramírez traded a major in astrophysics for a life in the performing arts, and the genderqueer actor and performance artist hasn’t looked back since.


LGBTQ representation took center stage in Philadelphia theater this year. Queer artists told their stories, and out performers, directors and designers achieved award-winning success with many different varieties of entertainment. Here’s a look back on the year in queer in regional theater.


Andrew Betz began performing community theater in the South Jersey suburbs as a youngster. The passion he formed there set him on a course to become a professional actor. The out actor, who currently resides in New York, has appeared in several Philadelphia-area productions — many of them at Mt. Airy’s Quintessence Theatre. This holiday season, he plays The Scarecrow in an inventive new adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz.”

It’s a blustery Thursday afternoon in South Philadelphia, and Justin Jain is becoming Pete Buttigieg. The out actor looks and sounds nothing like the openly gay, dark-horse presidential candidate, but he works prodigiously to adopt Buttigieg’s Midwestern mannerisms and homespun charm.

Sasha Velour, who won the crown on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in Season 9, will present her new show, “Smoke & Mirrors,” on Nov. 12 at the Merriam Theater. The production combines drag, video and magic as the performer lip-syncs to songs, including Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional,” Judy Garland’s “Come Rain or Come Shine” — with real rain no less — and Celine Dion’s “I’m Alive.” She was touched to have her act described as, “being like bringing paintings to life.”

Nonbinary actor and artist Bailey Roper doesn’t remember a time when they weren’t performing. Their love of the stage brought them to Philadelphia, where they studied at the University of the Arts. After graduation, Bailey put down roots in Philly, and they are currently appearing in the Arden Theatre Company’s production of “Tiny Beautiful Things.”

Tony Award-winning stage and screen actress, Bebe Neuwirth (“A Chorus Line,” “Chicago,” “Cheers” and “Frasier”) is coming to the stage in Philadelphia to star in Philadelphia Theatre Company’s season opener, “A Small Fire,” through Nov. 10.

Page 1 of 2
Find us on Facebook
Follow Us
Find Us on YouTube
Find Us on Instagram
Sign Up for Our Newsletter